Happy Birthday, Emanuele!

The Neapolitan violinist and composer Emanuele Barbella (1718-1777) enjoyed great popularity: after his first studies with his father, the “maestro d’instrumenti ad arco” of the conservatory in Naples, Barbella later received lessons from Pasquale Bini, a pupil of Tartini, as well as composition lessons from Leonardo Leo. As a violinist and teacher, Barbella was active at several important institutions in Naples. From 1753 he was first violinist at the Teatro Nuovo. He was considered an insider on the scene, which is why he also guided the well-known music theorist Charles Burney through the city’s musical life during his stay in Naples. His compositional output includes an opera as well as numerous works for violin and accompaniment. Many of his pieces were also published in England and France, so that they were well known in Europe. His compositions correspond to the gallant style, are quite pleasing and brim with joie de vivre. It is therefore not surprising that some of his compositions were included in violin schools. In addition to his numerous compositions for the violin, Barbella also created enchanting works for the mandolin. A wonderful example of this is his Mandolin Concerto, for which the Cologne Academy recorded a special video with mandolin superstar Alon Sariel. A wonderful project and fitting for the year 2023, in which the mandolin is the instrument of the year. You can get a small sample here: https://youtu.be/uYxZj1qa5XY